Craig Conroy

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Craig Conroy
A man with short, brown hair looks to his right.  He is wearing a red uniform with black pants and a black stylized C logo on his chest.
Born (1971-09-04) September 4, 1971 (age 43)
Potsdam, NY, USA
Height 6 ft 2 in (188 cm)
Weight 193 lb (88 kg; 13 st 11 lb)
Position Center
Shot Right
Played for Montreal Canadiens
St. Louis Blues
Calgary Flames
Los Angeles Kings
National team  United States
NHL Draft 123rd overall, 1990
Montreal Canadiens
Playing career 1994–2011

Craig Michael Conroy (born September 4, 1971) is an American former professional ice hockey player and currently the Assistant General Manager of the Calgary Flames of the National Hockey League. A sixth round selection of the Montreal Canadiens at the 1990 National Hockey League (NHL) Entry Draft, Conroy played 1,009 NHL games for the Canadiens, St. Louis Blues, Calgary Flames and Los Angeles Kings during a professional career that spanned from 1994 to 2011. Internationally, he twice played with the United States National Team – at the 2004 World Cup of Hockey and the 2006 Winter Olympics.

Developed as a defensive specialist through much of his career, Conroy was twice a finalist for the Selke Trophy as the league's top defensive forward and was nominated for the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy as its most gentlemanly player. He played over 1,000 games in the NHL and was the second oldest player in league history to reach that milestone. Conroy, who enjoyed his greatest offensive seasons with the Flames, is a former captain of the team and was twice honored by the organization for his leadership, dedication and humanitarian efforts.

Early life[edit]

An only child,[1] Conroy was born and raised in Potsdam, New York. He attended high school at Northwood School.[2] His father Mike played minor league hockey for the Syracuse Blazers and at four years old Conroy served as the team's mascot prior to games.[3]

He followed in the footsteps of his father and two uncles in playing hockey at Clarkson University for the Golden Knights.[4] He enrolled at Clarkson in 1990 and played four seasons for the school. During his junior season of 1992–93, Conroy scored two goals in a 5–3 victory over RPI in the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) semi-final to help lead his team to the conference championship game.[5] Conroy reached 100 career points with the goals, joining his father Mike as the only such pair in Clarkson's history to reach that milestone.[6] Conroy and the Golden Knights then won the ECAC title with a 3–1 victory over Brown University.[7]

The Golden Knights made Conroy a co-captain in his senior year of 1993–94.[8] He led the ECAC in scoring with 66 points and was named to the conference's First All-Star Team, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) First All-Star Team and the NCAA Final Four All-Tournament Team.[9] He was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award as top player in the NCAA, finishing second to Chris Marinucci.[10] His Clarkson jersey (#7) was retired in a ceremony prior to a game against College of Holy Cross on October 20, 2012 in which he and his family attended.

Professional career[edit]

Montreal and St. Louis[edit]

Conroy was selected in the sixth round, 123rd overall, at the 1990 NHL Entry Draft by the Montreal Canadiens.[2] He turned professional in 1994 upon completing his college career in Clarkson. At his first day of his first training camp with Montreal, he got into a fight with the team's star goaltender, Patrick Roy, after striking the latter with a slap shot in practice.[11] He spent the majority of the 1994–95 season in the American Hockey League (AHL) with the Fredericton Canadiens, scoring 26 goals and 44 points in 55 games.[2] He appeared in six games for Montreal that year. He played his first NHL game on February 15, 1995, against the Hartford Whalers, and scored his first goal one night later against the New York Rangers.[9] Though he was an offensive star at Clarkson and Fredericton, the Canadiens sought to convert him to a defensive specialist in the NHL.[11]

While he averaged over one point per game with Fredericton in 1995–96, Conroy again played only a handful of games with Montreal.[9] He again began 1996–97 in the AHL, but was traded along with Pierre Turgeon and Rory Fitzpatrick to the St. Louis Blues for Murray Baron, Shayne Corson and a draft pick on October 29, 1996.[2] Conroy appeared in five games with the Worcester IceCats in the AHL, but after earning a recall to St. Louis, established himself as a regular in the NHL and appeared in 61 games with the Blues that season.[4] Head coach Joel Quenneville worked to develop Conroy's abilities as a defensive forward and top faceoff specialist.[11] Conroy responded in 1997–98 by improving to 43 points and a career-high plus-minus rating of +20.[9] In recognition of his season, he was named a finalist for both the Selke Trophy as the NHL's top defensive forward, and the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy as its most gentlemanly player.[2]

Conroy remained one of the league's top defensive forwards in 1998–99. While he missed several games with a high ankle sprain,[12] he scored his first career hat trick on February 26, 1999, against the Calgary Flames and finished sixth in Selke Trophy voting that season.[9] He faced a difficult season in 1999–2000 as Queneville adopted a new strategy that abandoned the concept of a checking line. Conroy struggled at both ends of the ice, and frequently found his ice time limited as a result.[13] He finished the season with just 27 points.[2]

Looking to improve their team for a playoff run in 2000–01, the Blues dealt Conroy, along with a draft pick, to the Flames for Cory Stillman.[14] The trade was initially unpopular in Calgary as the Flames had given up their leading scorer for Conroy, who noted that that was when he "learned not to read the papers or watch TV".[15]

Calgary and Los Angeles[edit]

Opinion of the deal shifted considerably the following season as Conroy established himself as the Flames' first line center alongside Jarome Iginla.[16] The pair developed good chemistry, and became the best of friends.[17] Conroy scored career highs with 28 goals and 75 points,[2] while Iginla reached the 50-goal plateau for the first time and led the league in scoring. Iginla credited Conroy for making his breakout season possible.[17] Additionally, Conroy was named a finalist for the Selke Trophy for a second time.[18] The Flames named him a co-captain along with Bob Boughner late in the 2001–02 season, and he held the role full-time in 2002–03.[9]

Conroy (right) talks with former teammate Martin Gelinas during the alumni game at the 2011 Heritage Classic.

Conroy was the Flames second-leading scorer in 2002–03 with 59 points and again in 2003–04 when he scored 47 points despite missing 19 games with a knee injury.[9] Shortly before the 2003-04 season began, Conroy gave up the captaincy after having decided it was time for Iginla to take over leadership of the team.[19] He reached two milestones that season; he scored his 300th career point against the Vancouver Canucks on November 29, 2003 and played his 600th game against the Detroit Red Wings on March 16, 2004.[9] The Flames qualified for the 2004 playoffs, their first trip to the post-season in eight seasons. Conroy was a key player for the team as they upset the top three seeds in the Western Conference, the Canucks, Red Wings and San Jose Sharks en route to a seventh game loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Stanley Cup Final.[20] He finished second on the team in playoff scoring with 17 points.[21] Following the season, Conroy was named to play with Team USA at the 2004 World Cup of Hockey,[22] but appeared in only two games for the team.[2]

Conroy left the Flames as a free agent following the playoff run as he opted to sign a four-year, US$12 million contract with the Los Angeles Kings.[23] He later admitted that he did not truly wish to leave the Flames, but facing financial uncertainty with the 2004–05 NHL lockout looming, Conroy chose to accept the guaranteed contract.[24] The lockout wiped out the first year of the deal, but he returned in 2005–06 to reach the 20 goal mark for the third time and 60 points for the second time in his career.[9] During that season, he joined the United States national team for a second time, playing in the 2006 Winter Olympics.[23] He appeared in six games, scoring one goal and five points for the eighth place Americans.[2]

Conroy struggled under new coach Marc Crawford early in the 2006–07 season, falling to five goals and sixteen points in 52 games for the Kings before he was traded back to the Flames on January 29, 2007, in exchange for Jamie Lundmark and two draft picks.[25] An emotional Conroy, who said he was happy to return to Calgary, scored two goals the following night in his second debut with the Flames to defeat his former Kings teammates, 4–1.[26] Conroy finished the season by scoring 21 points in 28 games for Calgary, then scored 34 points in 2007–08.[2]

The Flames re-signed Conroy to a new contract prior to the 2008–09 season and named him an alternate captain.[27][28] He scored his 500th career point on January 3, 2009, when he assisted on Todd Bertuzzi's game-winning goal in a 3–2 win against the Nashville Predators,[29] and finished the year with 48 points. The 2009–10 NHL season proved a difficult one for Conroy, as he scored only three goals and twelve assists during a season shortened by wrist and knee injures along with a broken foot.[30] He returned for another season as the Flames re-signed him to a one-year, two-way contract for the league minimum of $500,000.[31] At 39-years-old, Conroy played his 1,000th NHL game, against the Colorado Avalanche, on October 28, 2010. Only Grant Ledyard was older (age 40) when he reached that milestone.[15]

Conroy played only nine more games after passing the milestone, and last played on December 20 against the Minnesota Wild. A healthy scratch in 32 of 50 games, and 28 of his final 29, Conroy was waived on January 25, 2011. After going unclaimed, he was left with the option of joining Calgary's AHL affiliate in Abbotsford or retiring.[32] One week later, on February 4, 2011, Conroy formally announced his retirement and accepted a management position with the Flames organization, becoming the special assistant to general manager Jay Feaster.[33] On June 6, 2014, Conroy was promoted to Assistant General Manager, reporting to General Manager Brad Treliving.[34]

Off the ice[edit]

a man is pictured alongside his wife and three daughters as he is presented with a framed hockey jersey with the numeber 1000 on its back.
Conroy, pictured with his family, is honored prior to playing his 1,000th career game.

Conroy has a wife, Jessie, and three daughters, Taylor, Sophia and Sydney.[1] Conroy and his family chose to remain in Calgary following his retirement as a player, though they had considered other options including returning to his home town of Potsdam.[35]

He is known for his outgoing and talkative nature,[24] traits that have made him a popular figure with the fans.[36] The Flames honored Conroy with the J. R. "Bud" McCaig Award, given by the organization to individuals that show respect, courtesy and compassion, in 2008–09.[37] He was also named him the winner of the Ralph T. Scurfield Humanitarian Award in 2010 in recognition of his charitable efforts.[38] Additionally, his teammates voted him the organization's nominee for the King Clancy Memorial Trophy which is awarded to the player who best exemplifies leadership and humanitarian contributions to their community.[39] Conroy is the spokesman for the team's charitable organization, the Flames Foundation for Life and routinely participates in team events.[38]

Career statistics[edit]

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1990–91 Clarkson Golden Knights ECAC 39 8 22 30 24
1991–92 Clarkson Golden Knights ECAC 32 20 16 36 38
1992–93 Clarkson Golden Knights ECAC 35 10 23 33 26
1993–94 Clarkson Golden Knights ECAC 34 26 39 65 48
1994–95 Fredericton Canadiens AHL 55 26 18 44 29 11 7 3 10 6
1994–95 Montreal Canadiens NHL 6 1 0 1 0
1995–96 Fredericton Canadiens AHL 67 31 38 69 65 10 5 7 12 6
1995–96 Montreal Canadiens NHL 7 0 0 0 2
1996–97 Fredericton Canadiens AHL 9 10 6 16 10
1996–97 Worcester IceCats AHL 5 5 6 11 2
1996–97 St. Louis Blues NHL 61 6 11 17 43 6 0 0 0 8
1997–98 St. Louis Blues NHL 81 14 29 43 46 10 1 2 3 8
1998–99 St. Louis Blues NHL 69 14 25 39 38 13 2 1 3 6
1999–00 St. Louis Blues NHL 79 12 15 27 36 7 0 2 2 2
2000–01 St. Louis Blues NHL 69 11 14 25 46
2000–01 Calgary Flames NHL 14 3 4 7 14
2001–02 Calgary Flames NHL 81 27 48 75 32
2002–03 Calgary Flames NHL 79 22 37 59 36
2003–04 Calgary Flames NHL 63 8 39 47 44 26 6 11 17 12
2005–06 Los Angeles Kings NHL 78 22 44 66 78
2006–07 Los Angeles Kings NHL 52 5 11 16 38
2006–07 Calgary Flames NHL 28 8 13 21 18 6 1 1 2 8
2007–08 Calgary Flames NHL 79 12 22 34 71 7 0 2 2 8
2008–09 Calgary Flames NHL 82 12 36 48 28 6 0 1 1 0
2009–10 Calgary Flames NHL 63 3 12 15 25
2010–11 Calgary Flames NHL 18 2 0 2 8
NHL totals 1009 182 360 542 603 81 10 20 30 52

International[edit]

Year Team Comp   GP G A Pts PIM
2004 USA WCH 2 0 0 0 0
2006 USA Oly 6 1 4 5 2
International totals 8 1 4 5 2

Awards and honors[edit]

Award Year
University
All-ECAC Hockey Rookie Team 1990–91
All-ECAC Hockey First Team 1993–94 [2]
AHCA East First-Team All-American 1993–94 [2]
ECAC Hockey All-Tournament Team 1994 [40]
NCAA Final Four All-Tournament Team 1993–94 [2]
Calgary Flames team awards
J. R. "Bud" McCaig Award 2008–09 [37]
Ralph T. Scurfield Humanitarian Award 2009–10 [38]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b LeManne, Michaelle (2009-09-29). "Style Q+A: Craig Conroy". Avenue Calgary Magazine. Retrieved 2010-11-04. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Craig Conroy profile". Hockey Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2010-10-29. 
  3. ^ Amber, David (2007-03-21). "Conroy finds net, and video game tips, in Calgary". ESPN. Retrieved 2010-10-30. 
  4. ^ a b Wharnsby, Tim (2010-10-22). "Flames' Conroy reveals hockey secret". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2010-10-29. 
  5. ^ Wallace, William (1993-03-20). "Clarkson and Brown gain ECAC final". New York Times. Retrieved 2011-04-05. 
  6. ^ Boggie, Tom (1993-03-21). "Placid tourney 'terrific'". The Daily Gazette. p. F4. Retrieved 2011-02-05. 
  7. ^ Schott, Ken (1993-03-21). "Golden Knights complete turnaround". The Daily Gazette. p. F4. Retrieved 2011-02-05. 
  8. ^ Wallace, William (1994-03-02). "College hockey report". New York Times. Retrieved 2011-02-12. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i Hanlon, Peter; Kelso, Sean (2009). 2009–10 Calgary Flames Media Guide. Calgary Flames Hockey Club. p. 43. 
  10. ^ "Marinucci claims Hobey Baker Award". The Michigan Daily. 1994-04-04. p. S2. Retrieved 2011-02-05. 
  11. ^ a b c Duhatschek, Eric (2010-10-28). "Conroy reaches unlikely milestone". Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2010-10-29. 
  12. ^ Luecking, Dave (1999-03-14). "Conroy leads Blues to win but suffers ankle injury". St. Louis Post Dispatch. p. F1. 
  13. ^ Luecking, Dave (1999-12-13). "Struggling to find role with Blues, Conroy vents frustration on Stars". St. Louis Post Dispatch. p. C6. 
  14. ^ "Blues carry the day at NHL trade deadline". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 2001-03-14. Retrieved 2010-10-31. 
  15. ^ a b Mingo, Rita (2010-10-28). "Craig Conroy recalls icy welcome in Calgary as 1,000th game looms". AOL Fanhouse. Retrieved 2010-10-31. 
  16. ^ Goold, Derrick (2001-10-23). "Conroy joins Turek in dazzling former team". St. Louis Post Dispatch. p. D1. 
  17. ^ a b Board, Mike (2010-10-27). "Capturing Conroy". Calgary Flames Hockey Club. Retrieved 2010-10-31. 
  18. ^ "Conroy to celebrate 1,000 games". Calgary Flames Hockey Club. 2010-10-27. Retrieved 2010-10-31. 
  19. ^ Rosen, Dan (2008-12-09). "Iginla honored to be captain of Flames". National Hockey League. Retrieved 2010-10-31. 
  20. ^ Gardiner, Andy (2004-05-27). "Face it: Conroy a key to Flames' run". USA Today. p. C10. 
  21. ^ Hanlon, Peter; Kelso, Sean (2009). 2009–10 Calgary Flames Media Guide. Calgary Flames Hockey Club. p. 142. 
  22. ^ "Team USA roster". ESPN. 2010-08-30. Retrieved 2010-10-31. 
  23. ^ a b MacFarlane, Steve (2005-12-21). "Conroy holds court again". Calgary Sun. Retrieved 2010-10-31. 
  24. ^ a b Lefebvre, Jean (2009-01-31). "Parting shot: A conversation with Craig Conroy". Calgary Herald. Retrieved 2010-11-04. 
  25. ^ "Conroy back with Flames". Canwest News Service. 2007-01-29. Retrieved 2010-10-31. 
  26. ^ "Kings already burned by Conroy trade". MSNBC Sports. 2007-01-31. Retrieved 2010-10-31. 
  27. ^ "Langkow, Conroy among Flames re-signed". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 2008-06-27. Retrieved 2010-10-31. 
  28. ^ "Conroy to sport 'A' for Flames' season opener". Calgary Herald. 2008-10-09. Retrieved 2010-10-31. 
  29. ^ "Flames' Bertuzzi breaks tie vs. Preds with 23.4 seconds left". ESPN. 2009-01-03. Retrieved 2010-10-31. 
  30. ^ Busby, Ian (2010-02-25). "Flames back at it". Calgary Sun. Retrieved 2010-10-31. 
  31. ^ "Flames sign Conroy to one-year contract". The Sports Network. 2010-08-11. Retrieved 2010-10-31. 
  32. ^ "Conroy considering retirement after clearing waivers". The Sports Network. 2011-01-27. Retrieved 2011-01-28. 
  33. ^ "Conroy retires, moves to Flames front office". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 2011-02-04. Retrieved 2011-02-04. 
  34. ^ http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/hockey/flames-name-former-player-conroy-pascall-as-assistant-general-managers/article19042586/
  35. ^ Odland, Kristen (2011-02-05). "Conroy clan happy to stay in Calgary". Calgary Herald. Retrieved 2011-02-05. [dead link]
  36. ^ Cruickshank, Scott (2010-10-28). "1,000 reasons to smile for Flames' Conroy". Calgary Herald. Retrieved 2010-11-04. [dead link]
  37. ^ a b Hanlon, Peter; Kelso, Sean (2009). 2009–10 Calgary Flames Media Guide. Calgary Flames Hockey Club. p. 30. 
  38. ^ a b c "Conroy's contribution nets special award". Calgary Flames Hockey Club. 2010-03-23. Retrieved 2010-10-31. 
  39. ^ "Conroy nominated for King Clancy". Calgary Flames Hockey Club. 2010-05-05. Retrieved 2010-11-04. 
  40. ^ "All-Tournament Honors". ECAC Hockey. Retrieved 2014-05-12. 

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Dave Lowry
Calgary Flames captain
200203
with Bob Boughner, 2002
Succeeded by
Jarome Iginla
Note: Conroy and Boughner shared the captaincy, in the later half of the 2001–02 NHL season, after Lowry was stripped of the role.
Conroy was then named sole captain for the 2002–03 NHL season.